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Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway to re-open on July 4

Family favourite Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway is preparing to re-open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The long-running tourist attraction closed in March alongside zoos, theatres, pubs and restaurants as the country went into lockdown.

The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway will re-open next month
The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway will re-open next month

But now, following the latest government advice and guidances for leisure facilities, staff are preparing to get things back on track and it will re-open on Saturday, July 4.

But there will be some changes to operation, with the team revealing that journeys will be subject to changes after implementing a "range of additional health and safety measures to protect passengers and teams".

A statement on the RHDR's websites notes: "Our world-famous steam locomotives will still be the same, but our journeys will be a little different.

"Our railway can only open in stages and we have invested in changes to our coaches to enable this.

"We realise the flexibility we usually can offer is not possible, but we really would value you coming to visit.

Some changes will be made to journeys to keep visitors and staff safe
Some changes will be made to journeys to keep visitors and staff safe

"The railway’s survival will be led by how many passengers we see in the days following Saturday, July 4."

As part of the revised arrangements, pre-booking will be essential for all visitors and all journeys will begin at the New Romney Station and travel to Dungeness. Passengers will have 20 minutes to spend at Dungeness before their designated return time.

Staff say this will ensure social distancing requirements can be safely met.

The usual capacity will also be reduced, two metre markers will be installed on the floor in case of queuing and contact between compartments will be restricted.

Additional hygiene measures, such as screens and hand sanitising stations, will be installed and carriages will be cleaned between each return journey.

The railway has been operating for over 90 years and has a large fleet of one third size steam and diesel locomotives
The railway has been operating for over 90 years and has a large fleet of one third size steam and diesel locomotives

Passengers are encouraged to use contactless payments and wear face coverings.

In addition, some facilities - such as the Model Railway Exhibition and play areas at New Romney - will remain closed.

The light railway has struggled financially since its temporary closure three months ago.

In April, Danny Martin, general manager, said the business was going through its tougest months since almost closing in 1971.

To generate some income during the closure, the team sold two new types of tickets - a virtual supporters ticket and a virtual supporters and travel ticket. Buyers received a certificate of thank you for their donation.

Find out more about tickets at rhdr.org.uk.

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